There’s been a growing focus on Mental Health in the last few years, with over 47% of employees having experienced poor mental health, where work was a contributing factor. (BITC and BUPA).
At Cosine we want to make sure that we’re supporting our colleagues in all aspects of life, where we can. We understand that there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution and that’s why we endeavour to offer multiple resources for our people to access.
Each year 300k people lose their jobs because of long-term mental health problems (Stevenson and Farmer). We don’t want to lose good people if we can help them stay within the business and access resources that may help.
We have various resources available, but in this blog post, we will highlight four of them.
We have a group of 20+ volunteers from across the business who make up the DEI Champions group. They meet bi-weekly to discuss strategy, share stories, set targets, and talk through anything related in a safe space.
They ensure CPM are on track with being a diverse, inclusive, and equitable place to work. They also allow everyone to be a part of creating the solution for the change they want to see.
We appreciate that we do not know everything, which is why a diverse group of people is integral to the champions’ network. Having a diverse group allows us to make a difference from the top down as well as the bottom up, working together to meet in the middle.
We have also partnered with the EW Group, which is a diversity and inclusion consultancy, who have worked with the likes of the Government and the BBC. So far there has been training provided to the Field Managers and DEI Champions, with the view to making this training more accessible for all in due course.
After a lot of work, new policies are being rolled out including parental leave, transgender and non-binary guidance, menopause and more.
Despite some of the achievements we have made, there is still a continued focus and big progress to be made. We are only at the beginning of our journey but hope that this measure allows people to feel less alone as we embrace everyone’s differences and create a safe place for all to belong.
With this in mind, EW Group have also worked with us to create a survey asking various questions about how people feel represented and supported at Cosine regarding diversity, equality and inclusion. We also have a regular engagement survey that is sent out to our colleagues to ask what they like, or what could be improved about life working for Cosine.
It’s a continuous road to improvement that we hope to bring everyone on board with, to share their ideas and any concerns they may have.
Within the DEI Champions Network, we have given colleagues the space and encouragement to create ERGs (Employee Resource Group). ERGs meet on a regular basis to discuss issues in an open space. They are voluntary and led by employees with the aim of being an ally and creating awareness of the cause. An ERG holds influence on how the business can support the community and highlight any concerns/ changes that may need to be made.
Cosine employees have established ERGs for Menopause, Pride, Neurodiversity and Race/ ethnicity, with even more in the pipeline.
In September the DEI Champions set up a Culture and Engagement Event to raise awareness for the ERGs and allow everyone to feel involved. The event highlighted how we bring our DNA alive, learning about our wellbeing support along with finding out about the Employee Relations Groups and support available.
There were informative stalls, a quiz, a bake sale, amazing food and even a Drag Queen! It truly celebrated our company's commitment to culture and engagement.
Stef, Tim and Brit working on the Pride ERG stand.
Mental Health First Aiders
We have 18 Mental Health First Aiders across the business (both office and field). These 18 have all voluntarily undertaken training with MHFA England. This training allows them to support employees with their well-being and mental health. This training is refreshed every three years to ensure everything is up to date.
It’s important to recognise that our MHFAs are not qualified to provide therapy but are there to support our employees and help to make their lives easier. They also play an important part in raising awareness of mental health issues in the community and reducing stigma and discrimination.
Any conversations with the MHFAs are strictly confidential unless there is serious concern about safety (of yourself or others) but in this situation, you would always be consulted.
The training provides the MHFAs with an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that affect wellbeing. They will feel confident enough to step in, reassure and support a person in distress, as well as have practical skills to spot the triggers and signs, ahead of too much distress.
Grocery Aid, Aviva EAP (Employee Assistance Programme)-
Grocery Aid is a charity that anyone within Cosine can contact 24/7 for support year-round. They provide emotional, practical and financial support for people within the grocery sector via telephone and live chat. It’s positive that we have our Mental Health First Aiders, but it’s important that our employees also have resources and people to speak to from outside our organisation.
Blog Author Charley Collingwood